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DATE: Wed, 06 Jul 1994 14:56:56 CDT
From: Winslow Yerxa <76450.32~ompuserve.com>
Subject: Roman Numerals


Bart de Boer asks about Roman numerals and constructing chords.

Scale degrees are numbered with:


ARABIC NUMERALS

when discussing only the scale degree (the note) itself.
For instance:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 *
C D E F G A B C

This describes the intervals between the individual
notes.


ROMAN NUMERALS

when discussing chords relative to the tonic, or key note
(C is the tonic in the key of C).

So, for instance, IV would be the chord built on the
fourth degree of the scale, and V would be the chord
built on the fifth degree.

And yes, basic chords are built by adding notes a 3rd and a fifth
above the root note. The root is whatever nbote you choose to
build from (as opposed to the tonic).

For instance, to build a IV chord in the key of C, you would go
to the 4th degree, F, and use that as the tonic, and add a 3rd
(A) and a fifth (C) above it.

More sophisticated chords can be built up form the basic triads
(three-note) chords.

The good thing about describing musical structures this way is
that it gives you a set of portable realtionships. If you Know
that the chord progression is I-IV-V-IV, and you know your keys,
you can play that tune in any key, because you know the